Tourism in Antarctica: Increasing Diversity and the Legal Criteria for Authorisation

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Abstract

Both the intensity and the diversity of tourist activities in Antarctica are increasing. Activities conducted in the Antarctic today include ski-expeditions, mountain climbing, marathons, long-distance swimming and scuba diving. In this article the question is discussed whether the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and the domestic implementing legislation of the Contracting Parties provide a system of clear normative criteria for authorising Antarctic tourist activities. The question is answered in the negative. Although the Annexes to the Protocol have been incorporated into domestic law, most of the requirements and prohibitions are in fact "conditions" for conducting activities in the Antarctic and do not provide clear guidance for the "go-no go decision". Article 3 provides more fundamental principles, but the wording of this Article is not very clear and the interpretation and application is likely to differ from state to state. Based on these findings, combined with the expectation that in the future the diversity of tourist activities will further increase, the author questions whether, in the longer term, the current legal system is strong enough to safeguard the Antarctic as a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science" in accordance with Article 2 of the Protocol.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-118
Number of pages33
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Environmental Law
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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    Gilhuis, P. C., Verschuuren, J. & van Gestel, R.

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